PIAF hails fund rais­ing deal for NJHEP

Pakistan Observer - - ECONOMY WATCH - ALIM

S AHMED LAHORE—Pak­istan In­dus­trial and Traders As­so­ci­a­tions Front (PIAF) chair­man Ir­fan Iqbal Sheikh has greeted the WAPDA and Na­tional Bank of Pak­istan (NBP) for en­ter­ing into a fi­nanc­ing agree­ment of Rs100 bil­lion under pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship through a con­sor­tium of 16 banks under Shariah com­pli­ant fa­cil­ity for Neelum Jehlum Hy­dro Elec­tric project de­layed for a long time due to lack of fi­nance. He said that two of the ma­jor fi­nancers in­clud­ing Is­lamic De­vel­op­ment Bank and Saudi Fund for De­vel­op­ment had in­ter­rupted the sup­ply of funds, amount­ing to more than $100 mil­lion to Pak­istan for 969MW NJHP. He said that the prom­ise of Pre­mier Mian Nawaz Sharif with the na­tion to com­plete the project in Au­gust 2017 ap­par­ently not seemed to be hon­oured, as the PC-1 of said project was changed third-time and the cost of project es­ca­lated upto Rs414 bil­lion from ini­tial es­ti­mates Rs84 bil­lion at the time of fea­si­bil­ity study.

He said the ac­cu­mu­lated progress on NJHP dur­ing the last eight years is recorded at 78%, the re­main­ing 22% work to make the dream of the govt true may not seem pos­si­ble within the shorten stip­u­lated time. The IFIs par­tic­u­larly the Mid­dle East­ern donors ex­pressed their se­ri­ous reser­va­tions and linked the fur­ther re­lease of funds with ad­di­tional con­di­tions in­clud­ing the as­sur­ance of in-time com­ple­tion of project by the gov­ern­ment. So far a huge amount of more than Rs180 bil­lion has been spent on the project out of which Rs 39 bil­lion is be­ing gen­er­ated through Neelum-Jhelum Sur­charge im­posed on elec­tric­ity bills but the project is yet in­com­plete.

Ir­fan Iqbal Sheikh said that now, with this his­toric deal a ray of hope ap­peared for the com­ple­tion of the project lead­ing to end of power load­shed­ding be­ing faced by the in­dus­try in the country. This is the big­gest ever funds mo­bi­liza­tion for a pub­lic sec­tor en­tity in the his­tory of Pak­istan in which 16 lo­cal banks have par­tic­i­pated. Achiev­ing this mile­stone re­flects not only in­vestors’ con­fi­dence in the Fed­eral gov­ern­ment and WAPDA but also in­di­cates the po­ten­tial of in­vest­ment that hy­dropower sec­tor of­fers in the country.

He ex­pressed grat­i­tude to the gov­ern­ment for con­tin­u­ous sup­port in ar­rang­ing this land­mark deal. The is­suance of Sukuk worth Rs 100 bil­lion for NJHP would go a long way in ar­rang­ing funds for other hy­dropower projects as well to be ini­ti­ated in the country in near fu­ture.

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